What Is Egg Health?
Egg Health: A Key Factor in Fertility
The quality and condition of your eggs greatly affects your egg’s ability to be fertilized and to develop into an embryo.1,2 To understand why, it’s important to know what’s happening in your ovaries and how egg health affects egg and embryo development.
FACT: Egg quality is an essential factor for the viability of eggs for use in fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF.3
Human ovaries are small, walnut-sized glands located on each side of the uterus. The middle part of the ovary contains hundreds of thousands of ovarian follicles that contain eggs which mature through development.4
During a woman’s ovarian cycle, follicles with the eggs undergo a complex growth process eventually resulting in the development of a mature egg that is released into the fallopian tube and ready for fertilization.
Many of the eggs remain in an immature state while others will grow to a mature egg, which can then be fertilized, develop into an embryo, and grow into a baby.
Issues that can affect egg health
As a woman ages, both the quantity and the quality of the eggs remaining inside her ovaries decline.5 In addition, older women are more likely to miscarry or have a chromosomally abnormal embryo due to poor egg quality.4 However, many other factors can affect a woman’s fertility. These include lifestyle choices, reproductive disorders and other medical conditions.6-13
Learn more about female fertility.
Studies show that IVF success declines with age when a woman is using her own egg. If a woman chooses to use a younger woman’s donor egg, however, success rates are similar to those of a younger woman.14
Recent advances in reproductive technology and the groundbreaking discovery of egg precursor (EggPCSM) cells offer new ways to potentially improve the vitality of a woman’s own eggs.1,2 Learn more now.
- Miao YL, Kikuchi K, Sun QY, Schatten H. Oocyte aging: cellular and molecular changes, developmental potential and reversal possibility. Human Reprod Update. 2009 Sep; 15(5): 573–585.
- Ge H, Tollner TL, Hu Z, et al. The importance of mitochondrial metabolic activity and mitochondrial DNA replication during oocyte maturation in vitro on oocyte quality and subsequent embryo developmental competence. Mol Reprod Dev. 2012 Jun; 79(6): 392-401.
- Brandt M. New method of assessing women’s eggs could enhance IVF success, Stanford study shows. Stanford University Medical Center. http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2009/03/new-method-of-assessing-womens-eggs-could-enhance-ivf-success-stanford-study-shows.html. [Accessed April 29, 2015].
- Jones RE, Lopez KH. The female reproductive system. In: Human Reproductive Biology. 3rd ed. Burlington, MA: Academic Press; 2006: 31-72.
- American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Infertility: An Overview.
Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/infertility_overview.pdf. [Accessed April 29, 2015].
- Jose-Miller AB, Boyden JW, Frey KA. Infertility. Am Fam Physician. 2007; 75(6): 849–856.
- Zenzes MT. Smoking and reproduction: gene damage to human gametes and embryos. Hum Reprod Update. 2000 March; 6(2): 122-131.
- Wdowiak A, Sulima M, Sadowska M, Bakalczuk G, Bojar I. Alcohol consumption and quality of embryos obtained in programmes of in vitro fertilization. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2014; 21(2): 450–453.
- Buck Louis GM, Lum KJ, Sundarem R, et al. Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. Fertil Steril. 2011 June; 95(7): 2184–2189.
- Pasquali R, Patton L, Gambineri A. Obesity and infertility. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2007 Dec; 14(6): 482-487.
- Maconochie N, Doyle P, Prior S, Simmons R. Risk factors for first trimester miscarriage—results from a UK-population-based case-control study. BJOG. 2007 Feb; 114(2): 170-86.
- National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health (UK). Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems. London (UK): RCOG Press; 2004 Feb. [Accessed March 2007].
- Ohl J, Partisani M, Demangeat C, Binder Foucard F, Lang JM. Alterations of ovarian reserve tests in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women. Gynecol Obstet Fertil. 2010 May; 38(5): 313-317.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2012 National Summary. http://www.cdc.gov/art/pdf/2012-report/national-summary/summary-2012-national-summary-report.pdf. [Accessed April 29, 2015].